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Posts Tagged ‘biomimicry’

Biomimicry Science Fair Updates for This Week and a Weather Update

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Morpho butterfly, studied in biomimicry for how its wings reflect light (Photo: Wiki commons).

For those in the biomimicry science fair block of classes please remember that parents are required to attend this week’s class.

If you have not checked out the blog post about what students need to bring or prepare for class please do so ASAP!

WEATHER NOTE:

If the weather is inclement tomorrow, and SERC is delayed in opening, then please bring your student(s) to either the later class on Wednesday or any class on Thursday. There will be no time for a make-up class. If we do end up having delays and you can’t make any of the times then I will consult with you outside of class about your projects. E-mail me and let me know. All of this is contingent on weather so please check the blog or your e-mail for any announcements.

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Biomimicry Science Fair Project Choice, Assignment, and Pre-Class Materials

I know some of you have yet to make up the first class, missed due to snow; however, I wanted to go ahead and post the following materials for those that attended class today (Thursday 23rd). If you are attending the make-up class next week then please do not read ahead until after you attend class on the 29th.

PLEASE REMEMBER THAT ALL PARENTS MUST ATTEND THE SECOND CLASS ON EITHER FEBRUARY 5TH OR 6TH.

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CHOOSING A BIOMIMICRY PROJECT

As you know your student will be choosing a biomimicry project for their science fair display.

For 5-7 year old students: the students may choose a project where they research a human problem and the animal/plant that solves a similar problem. They may then design a model, using the creatures key features, and present this as their project. Models should be fairly large, at least the size of a shoe box or larger.

For 8-12 year old students: the students will also choose a project where they research a human problem and the animal/plant that solves a similar problem. Not only will they design and build a solution but they must also test their design using replication and control. This age group will be responsible for data collection and making graphs (line or bar).

Both age groups will be required to develop a hypothesis and present a trifold poster. In the second class I will go over, in more detail, how the poster should be arranged and laid out.

WHERE DO I FIND RESOURCES?

  • biomimicry science fair ideas This document I put together with many different biomimicry science fair ideas that should be doable for the different age groups. These ideas are not set in stone and can be changed or modified. Each idea has “younger,” “older,” or “all ages” next to the title. This tells you if it’s suited for 5-7’s, 8-12’s or all ages 5-12.
  • Ask Nature is the Biomimicry Institute’s website for ideas about problem solving using nature. Type in either the animal/plant you’re interested in or the problem you want to solve, such as “climbing” or “self cleaning.”

FOR NEXT CLASS:

Students of both age groups must come to class with the following:

  • A question they want to answer about a human problem and an animal or plant solution.
  • Some basic research about their chosen plant or animal
  • A hypothesis they want to test (or for younger students a model to build)
  • Experimental Design (rough) based on the plant or animal they want to study. For younger students this will be the design of their invention.

FOR THOSE THAT WANT TO KNOW WHAT THE POSTERS WILL LOOK LIKE

In the second class I will be going over scientific design with each parent and student, as well as discussing with the entire class, how to create their posters for display. For older students I will focus on replication and controls.

Here is a document that outlines what the posters will look like: SERC Home School Biomimicry Science Fair Poster Requirements

Please feel free to e-mail me with any questions McDonaldK@si.edu.

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Pre-Class Study Materials for the Home School Biomimicry Science Fair

Biomimicry Science Fair Pre-Class Materials

Next week will begin the first class of our Biomimicry science fair. Please remember that parents will be required to attend the SECOND class on February 5th or 6th about choosing a project topic. You are also welcome to sit in on the first class (January 22nd or 23d) if you wish to get a clearer understanding of the field of biomimicry and how it pertains to the research project the students will be conducting.

PLEASE REMEMBER TO ARRIVE ON TIME TO CLASS. LATE ARRIVALS ARE DISRUPTIVE AND IN SOME CASES MAY CAUSE UNSAFE CONDITIONS WHEN WE’RE WORKING WITH LABORATORY MATERIALS.

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Students participating in a previous SERC Biomimicry science Fair

Vocabulary:

  • Biomimicry
  • Scientific method
  • Hypothesis
  • Experiment
  • Variable
  • Control
  • Experimental design
  • Replication
  • Observation
  • Data
  • Conclusion

For All Ages (5-12):

http://www.ted.com/talks/janine_benyus_biomimicry_in_action.html Start with this (11 min.) video from the founder of the Biomimicry Institute.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXA4ox1rY80 Here’s a documentary by the BBC and David Attenborough all about how people are mimicking the climbing powers of Geckos.

http://studyjams.scholastic.com/studyjams/jams/science/scientific-inquiry/scientific-methods.htm visit the Scholastic page to learn about the process of the scientific method. You can also take their quiz about the scientific method here: http://studyjams.scholastic.com/studyjams/jams/science/scientific-inquiry/scientific-methods.htm (best for 8-12 yr. old kids)

For ages 8-12 yrs.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/when-animals-inspire-inventions-59895396/ this is a nice short article, from the Smithsonian, about biomimicry.

http://www.asknature.org/ Visit the “Ask Nature” portal and type in a problem that you might want to solve, such as “cooling a house” or “climbing” or even something like “keeping clean.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyFi6BQfDik a short catchy video parody of Gangnam style about the scientific method.

http://66.39.52.159/ddavis/PSif0001.bmp This is a bmp file (image) so you’ll have to print it directly (this is the home page: http://66.39.52.159/ddavis/PSif0001.bmp). Please have students complete this worksheet and matching before class.

For 5-7 yrs.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/4406699/Scientific%20Method%20Cards%20GW.pdf These are printable cards that students can use to lay out the steps of the scientific method.

Optional:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=neeP9v_x3os this is the first in a series of 4 videos (about 15 minutes each) called Nature Tech: the Materials World (BBC), which explores the materials that nature is made out of and how humans are studying it.

For Parents (just because it’s funny)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2MhMsLn9B0 Monty Python scientific method video (5 min)

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I received quite a few requests regarding posting the hydraulic arm instructions, like what we did in class, so that students could build their own at home. Here is a website where you can download the most simple version: http://www.instructables.com/id/Easy-Hydraulic-Machines/

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This website has some neat ideas that students also built: http://www.pathfindersdesign.net/www.pathfindersdesign.net/Classroom_Hydraulic_Machine_Inventions.html

Here is the hydraulic arm that was our demo, with the claw and arm motion: http://www.scienceguy.org/Articles/SyringeHydraulics.aspx

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You can find most materials either at the craft store (Popsicle sticks, hot glue, beads, zip-ties), aquarium supply store (tubing), and hardware store (syringes)

If you would like to consider kits for the holidays here are a few pre-made kits on Amazon.com:

http://www.scienceguy.org/Articles/SyringeHydraulics.aspx

http://www.amazon.com/Robot-Wooden-Construction-Water-Hydraulics/dp/B0087V3N3U/ref=pd_sim_sbs_indust_3

NOTE: If the federal government shuts down next week then SERC, it’s campus, classes, and field trips will all shut down as well.  I will send out an e-mail if this affects our classes in the following weeks.

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